Millennials Rising!

Over the past year I’ve been writing about the Millennial Generation, Generation Y and their propensity to band together and move as groups. We see it with the proliferation of social media, heck, social media was invented by this generation, literally. Recently – here and elsewhere, I’ve talked about how workplace and societal treatment needs to be different for this generation. Stress collaboration not competition.

Most Boomers in power however just don’t get it. They view this “grouping together” as being clingy and over-dependant. “If you can’t fight on your own then you can’t fight.”

Well, as generational analysts Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of the Fourth Turning, so rightly pointed out … history repeats itself. And the generation labeled as “clingy” is actually the same generation labeled as “the Greatest,” the heroes of Normandy Beach. Our boys, and I say all the boys of the Allied forces banded together and did what only a couple of years earlier was assumed impossible. They won World War II.

I believe we may be seeing another Normandy Beach, this time in Egypt and before in Tunisia. Only, the common foe is not Hitler, but rather the dictators on their own soils. The fight for democracy in the Arab world is the war of the Millennials. These are educated young adults who only want a chance. They see their peers in other parts of the world, United States included, having access to opportunities they can only dream. And these are opportunities they see every hour of every day. Because remember, they associate with each other – they communicate. And it doesn’t matter with who or where they’re at. As long as they have common interests.

I’ve been following the uprisings in the Middle East in-depth other the last three weeks. One thing I’ve noticed:  Nobody talks about why what’s happening is happening now. All you hear how is it going to effect us here in the United States, and what would happen if the dreaded Muslim Brotherhood gains control of Egypt. It seems as if there is an edict from above (and where that above is I don’t know), that we keep our ubiquitous “war on terror” front and center. “Anywhere there’s a Muslim, terrorism is sure to follow.”

Well boys and girls … this whole thing in the Middle East is not about being Muslim. It’s not about being a Christian. It’s not about Israel. And it sure ain’t about terrorism.

It’s about generational discontent. These are educated, well-connected, aware young adults who are driving these rebellions. It’s all about loving their countries and wanting to make a go of it. They don’t care if the person fighting next to them is Christian or Muslim or Buddhist or whatever. They’re all on the same team – “the Pursuit of Opportunity Team.” And their team is not prejudice.

It only seems like it’s the western media, the CNNs, Fox News’s, etc – that wants to create division where there are none.

Boomers, take notice … the Millennials are not like you. They’re not hung up on race and religion and sexual preference. They’re way past it. These are your issues – not theirs. Case in point, look at this picture:  “Christians protecting Muslims while they pray.”

I find it interesting that while Egypt’s Generation Y continues their battle for their country in the streets – their Boomer elders are jockeying for positions of power in the new government that will undoubtedly transpire. There are members of current regime claiming to be reformed. There’s members of opposing parties, claiming to be reformed. There’s even someone who’s been in exile claiming he’s the one to make everything all better. They all say they’ll listen to the “youth movement” and hear their plights … whatever. Never mind the only reason we’re having this conversation is because of the “youth movement.”

How this all turns out in Egypt, in Tunisia and wherever else the next rebellion is – is anyone’s guess. All I know, is that with the Millennials new-found confidence in political activism … it really doesn’t matter which of the Boomers take over next. If they don’t pay attention  – they’ll go the way their predessesor did.

They’ll just be an irrelevant old man.


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9 thoughts on “Millennials Rising!

  1. Government is always about power (usurped or delegated), position (class structure), and payoff (benefits derived). The form of government creates the system of governance. QOL (quality of life) and SOL (standard of living) are a function of the values of the people within the system. Revolutionaries must identify the values by which they wish to live and how those values will manifest themselves in broad principles, specific policies, and general practices. The longevity of any society/nation is built upon the valuing of life, liberty, and (individual) pursuit of happiness. A right or justified revolution brings order out of chaos or dysfunction not create more or never ending chaos in the process.

  2. I think an American generational upheaval would be much less cinematic and much more strategic, systematic, and targeted. We Millenials serve as gophers, tons of interconnected, collaborative tunnels – popping up to the surface and uprooting the plants of yesteryear’s polticos through awareness, voting, and viral idea spreading. Replacing them with newly planted seeds of officials with Millenial-aligned priorities like new approaches to job creation, the energy crisis, and education reform.

  3. Those living in a dictatorship country will continue to ‘revolutionize’…. and it’s about time. They need to keep pounding the hammer until change takes place. Change IS the plan, it IS the template. Stable countries….I don’t see that taking place cuz…there’s no compelling reason for any age to rebel. England LOVES their monarchy ‘just because’as an example. Japan is the most in-debt stable nation, spending $2 for every $1 it takes in, but they are not rebelling against their gov’t (the US, even with all the money printing is spending 95 cents for every dollar it takes in btw). And we in the US are pissed about that, no matter what age. I think over the next 30 years or so, dictatorships won’t survive, because their trading partners will look the other way. so why are the millenials ‘clingy’? I’m a boomer and had a track to run on which existed since the 1920’s. Eventually, walmart got the ball rolling and told their vendors how they could make products overseas for less. then other companies followed suit. Now, all the jobs are gone. Considering that only 25% of people get a college education, it’s no wonder that millens ‘group up’ or appear clingy. They don’t have any jobs or worthwhile challenges present… because the greed of american business took it offshore. Somehow that needs to change, and I think if I were a millenial, I’d be revolting in some fashion as I did against the Viet Nam war.

  4. The youth who are smart enough to have put this protest together, are smart enough to organise the next step(s).
    They will need to combine their youth and enthusiasm with the more pragmatic approach of some older, wiser(?), more mature heads (and perhaps a template). Caring “grey power” boomers are out there and ready for the call. Youth needs to make sure that they can differentiate between “the good, the bad and the ugly” and enlist the right help.
    I feel that there are a lot of governments/regimes (around the world) that could do with the same “shake up” (not necessarily using the same methods) that is happening in Egypt.
    Go the youth of today it is your future. I am a fan and a supporter!

  5. Ahh, of course pragmatism ;)

    The Egyptians didn’t initiate a revolution in order to plunge themselves into chaos. They did it so that they could have something better. As you note, we need templates for what comes next. So much of the coverage is essentially “Wow! Look at these people overturning the past regime.” That is interesting only so long as you have something better to replace it with…otherwise it is tragic!

    You make an interesting point that this revolution does serve as a referendum on the future to the extent that it discourages would-be Mubaraks from thinking they will be able to exploit power to such an egregious degree. The question now is how/where do you find someone or some group that is more enlightened and can manage the transition to a more decentralized society…

  6. The interesting thing in these revolutions will be to see how they balance the optimism of the revolution itself with the need to keep the economy moving. Unfortunately, the younger generation does still need the political class to some degree because the political class controls all the economy machinery and efficient management of that infrastructure is not easily transfered to a disorganized group of revolutionaries.

    Free market advocates have often looked optimistically at places like Somalia in expectation of unique market based solutions developing in the absence of overbearing government. But in fact what you find is that in such undeveloped countries institutions even more repressive than government fill that void.

    I look at this process of development as a progression through stages of governance. A stable government of some sort is necessary to create the stability required for a democratic revolution. A democratic government or “enlightened dictatorship” (China) is necessary to create the economic prosperity and stability necessary to transition to the next stage.

    The goal for Egypt’s revolutionaries should be to make a deal with the right devil – to accept governance from some group in the political class that will keep the economic machinery moving while accepting limits of its own power. Fortunately, there are probably many groups that fit that description and recent events will lead any future leaders to be much more receptive to the public good.

    1. Would I expect anything else from you Greg … a pragmatic view, the implementation?

      Enough of stating the facts, it’s now time to look at the next stage. Change is here – how are we going to deal with it.

      It appears that the template for successful upheaval has been written. Now it’s time to write the template for what comes next.

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